As a mum to my 15-month-old daughter, other words that come to mind to describe my daily job include teacher, adventurer, storyteller, innovator, doctor, entertainer, chef, juggler and comedian.
Well the last one is subjective, as I think the silly faces I pull would only make my daughter laugh hysterically.
Here’s the thing, there is a definite connotation to the term ‘stay-at-home mum’ as there is with the term ‘working mum’. Both have their pros and cons and are equally challenging but I feel there’s a judgement and a misunderstanding of what the job title of a so called stay-at-home mum embodies.
While I cherish my time with my daughter and feel very lucky with my line of work as a writer to be at home with her, my job as her mother is a far cry from coffee catch-ups with other mums, leisurely walks in the park and snuggling up on the couch to watch daytime TV.
Most days, we aren’t even at home as my daughter’s short attention span and active nature, means we are out and about doing activities, trying to keep her entertained whilst maintaining my own sanity.
For some people, including my pre-baby self, there’s a lack of knowledge or understanding of what we do and what our daily job entails. I’ve had people ask what my plans are for the future and when I’m going to go back to work.
For me, what I am doing right now is work. Some days the work is fun, joyous and exciting, while other days I want to quit. Unfortunately there are no sick days or holiday leave and I’m on call morning and night.
There are days, where I’m juggling these invisible balls in the air, trying to be a good mum and do what’s best for my daughter, while at the same time trying to keep a shred of my own identity and do something that nurtures my own soul.
When I originally signed up for this role, I seemed to have skimmed through the job description and didn’t really understand or appreciate what being at home with my daughter would mean or entail.
Some days I feel like sitting down with my boss (aka my daughter) and telling her that I need some time off, an RDO and that her demanding work ethic does wear me thin. But then she smiles and her whole face lights as she erupts into an infectious belly laugh. I realise in that very moment the exact reason I took on this job, no pay and all.
At the end of the day, there really doesn’t need to be a title, whether you are working or at home full-time with your kids – we are all mums. We all work equally hard and try to do the best for our children. That’s what really matters.